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K&S ships first equipment to transfer mini and micro LEDs at blinding speed

René Raaijmakers
Leestijd: 6 minuten

With the first shipment of its Luminex platform, building on former Assembleon systems, Kulicke & Soffa underlines its commitment to the equipment market for advanced displays. The company even expects that transfer speeds of 10,000 micro LEDs a second will be able to compete with lithography processes.

Researched at the University of North Dakota, engineered in Eindhoven. That’s the road taken by the first super-high-speed micro-LED assembly machine that was shipped by Kulicke & Soffa, most probably to Samsung. This machine, the Luminex, uses laser-enabled advanced placement (LEAP) to shoot a thousand micro LEDs per second on a substrate. With parallelization, the laser technology even has the promise to gear up to 10,000 placements per second. That speed is expected four years from now and is needed to cost-effectively produce a 4K television screen with 24 million self-emissive LEDs – the equivalent of filling an area the size of a soccer field with euro coins in 40 minutes.

With the technology, obtained through the $25M acquisition of Uniqarta last February, K&S hopes to secure its roadmap and leadership in the back-end equipment market for LED-enabled backlighting. It made a head start there with the Pixalux placement machine for mini LEDs, developed by way of an exclusive IP agreement with US-based Rohinni. The mini variant is in high-volume production since 2019 and is currently revolutionizing the premium LCD market. The Pixalux can position and place up to fifty components a second with an accuracy of 20 micron. At its recent investor meeting, K&S said it had delivered its 100th Pixalux last December. Backlighting with mini LEDs is anticipated to transition to the value-oriented, high-volume display market starting in 2023, the company believes.

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